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THE MAKING OF A MARKER (Again)
Sage of Brown County
Frank M. Hohenberger, photographer, began his 82nd year far too busy even to consider retirement. Hohenberger, spent 40 years in Nashville turning out from his one-man studio photographs and writings that depict the picturesque countryside and those who live there. "I've devoted most of my life to this work," Hohenberger said, "and I wouldn't be happy doing anything else. So how could I consider retirement?"
In June, 1923, he wrote his first column for The Indianapolis Star titled, "Down in the Hills O'Brown County." Jos war,. good-natured writings about the folksy ways of Brown County citizens were a regular feature of The Star for more than 30 years,. In 1952 he wrote a book under the same name with an authoritative history of the area. Hohenberger worked in the composing room of The Star for several years before the passion for making good photographs got the best of him and he departed for Brown County and national fame.
Born near Defiance, Ohio, he became an orphan when 5 years old and was reared by his grandparents. After an apprenticeship in the printing trade, Hohenberger came to Indianapolis where he obtained a job on the old Sentinel. While dreaming of a career as a photographer, he spent the next several years working for newspapers at Dayton, Ohio and Louisville, KY.
He returned to Indianapolis after the turn of the century and went to work for The Star. It wasn't long, however, before he cleaned his hands of printer's ink for the last time and announced he was leaving for Brown County to start in business.
"My associates told me I'd be back soon, but they were wrong," he said. He was never to return to a print shop although he was still a member of International Typographical Union 1. Hohenberger believes his picture of "The Liars' Bench" is the most famous of any he has taken, and that includes thousands. The photograph was made in the courthouse yard at Nashville in 1923. The bench was said to be the meeting place for the best storytellers in the country.